Crispy Tofu, Smashed Potatoes & Mushrooms with Carrot Green Pesto

Some days you know exactly what you want for vegan dinner goodness and then there are those days when you’re just hungry but you have no idea what you want. We’ve all been there and where I live vegan takeout isn’t really an option so we have to do something.

Oh, the pressure!

So when one of us doesn’t actually know what we want for dinner but it’s our night to choose, we’ll just toss out a few ingredients, like say; pesto, mushrooms and potatoes. From there, the world is the cook’s #vegan oyster. You can do whatever you want as long as it contains the aforementioned ingredients.

This vegan dinner recipe is the result of one those nights.

Crispy Tofu, Smashed Potatoes & Mushrooms with Carrot Green Pesto

The other great this about this is that it is a super quick and easy vegan recipe, with most of the work being done by kitchen appliances. But before we get to that, let’s get to the ingredients.

Jerk Spiced Cauliflower Steaks & Bulgur ~ Easy Vegan Dinners

Since discovering Midnight Tokyo Diner on Netflix, we don’t often do a lot of meal planning per se, we just grab what is fresh and what looks delicious, plus a good helping of pantry staples and favorites. It has been working for us, especially during the lockdown, so there’s no point in changing anything. Right?

So of course when I set eyes on a beautiful head of cauliflower, I knew what I wanted to do with it…and I just had to do some Jedi mind trick to get the Hubs to request cauliflower steaks. Turns out, great minds think a lot and I got to keep my Jedi tricks for another day. His request was simple: cauliflower steaks, seasoned for any style of cuisine I chose.

Gotta love a man who knows you!

The cauliflower steaks will take the longest to cook so I recommend that you season it first and set aside to let the flavors marinate. If you want to be a lazy vegan, may I suggest a good Jerk seasoning spice pack. It’ll make sure you have all the right ingredients to make it authentic without having to worry about it. But if you want to use individual ingredients, here you go: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, scallion, scotch bonnet peppers, garlic and thyme.

I used vegan yogurt instead of oil to marinate the cauliflower, letting it get good and flavorful while I prepped the vegetables and grains.

When you’re ready, cook the cauliflower steaks on 180ºC for 30 minutes, adding more time if it’s not cooked all the way through.

The hardest part is out of the way…yay!

For the veggies you can keep it simple. Onion, bell peppers, garlic, ginger and chickpeas. I used a splash of oil (about 5 grams) for the veggies and chickpeas, otherwise I didn’t want to muddy up the flavor profile.

Finish it off with a grain of your choice, I chose bulgur because it has surpassed rice as my favorite short grain in recent years. And that’s it. Pretty easy, right?

Now all that’s left is to plate everything up!

You might notice the eggplant on the left and you’re probably wondering, doesn’t she dislike eggplant…a lot? Yes, I do. A lot.

But this wasn’t my plate, ti was the Hubs and he LOVES it, so I scored it and added the rest of the veggiegurt-jerk seasoning and popped it in the oven. It was a tad overcooked so I suggest adding it during the last 15 minutes of cooking because–DUH–cauliflower and eggplant doesn’t have the same cook time.

Next time you think there’s nothing to be done with cauliflower, think again. This is a quick and easy vegan dinner that you can cook again and again, switching up the seasoning and the grains to go from Jerk spice to Mexican, Indian, French or whatever else floats your boat.

This vegan meal was delicious, it was healthy and well-balanced.

Enjoy!

Vegan Pesto Pasta with Veggies

You ever have those nights where you just don’t feel like cooking? You’ve bought all the ingredients for a few awesome meals you want to try out but when the time comes to start cooking you just want something else. Something simple.

Well that’s how this dish came about. That and the fact that the fridge had a bunch of leftover ingredients from the week since it was a day or two before shopping day. When I’m working, I get in the zone and forget all about important things like time and meals and on this particular day I’d finally made some headway on a particularly difficult scene and the next thing I know it’s eight-thirty, which meant if I wanted to make the meal on the menu dinner would have been at eleven.

Instead, like any good vegan I have a pantry with more than a sufficient amount of grains. Everything from whole wheat pasta to bulgur and half a dozen different types of Asian noodles. I reached in and pulled out the whole wheat penne and the idea slowly came together. Well it was mostly because of the penne but also because there were three packages of fresh basil in my veggie crisper just waiting to become pesto and I REALLY wanted pesto and thus…pesto pasta was born.

Before we get into the details of this recipe, I have to gush a little about my newest vegan find, Parveggio. I happened upon this ingredient by accident and if you’ve read this blog before you know all about my love-hate relationship with vegan cheese. But Parm is a different beast altogether and when I lived in Germany I also found a really great vegan parm.

I don’t know if it was the lack of palm oil or just the simple fact that there have been incredible advances with vegan food over the past few years, but this was incredible. It had the slightly salty, tangy flavor of Parm without the need for dairy products and all the drama that goes along with animal-based cheese products. I bought it mostly for the pesto so pesto pasta was a natural solution.

For the pesto, I roasted the garlic because I wanted a more intense and less raw garlic flavor and I didn’t use any oil other than what dripped from the 3 sun-dried tomatoes I added. I used: basil, mint (just a handful) garlic, lemon zest & juice, pistachios, sun-dried tomatoes, parm, a few drops of chipotle flavored Tabasco sauce and a teaspoon of capers. Toss it in the food processor and let it run until smooth.

Because I didn’t use oil, I added the lemon juice in batches to make sure everything got chopped up with the proper consistency. If you add oil, do so in a slow but steady stream until the consistency is just right.

The rest of the dish was super easy. I used a couple teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil to saute the onions and crimini mushrooms for about 5 to 7 minutes. Then I added a 1/4 cup of peas and tofu crumbles, seasoning with salt, pepper, oregano, thyme and a pinch of smoky paprika. When everything was done, I drained the pasta and tossed it with the onion & mushroom mixture before tossing with pesto in batches until every bite was coated.

Then I added a dollop on top with a sprinkling of parm and we LOVED it. It took about twenty minutes, most of which was prep time and I was able to serve a delicious and mostly healthy meal well before eleven at night!

 

If you’re curious about Parveggio, check out the page for GreenVie Foods.